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Dixon musician needs your help

Venier and her band competing in Hard Rock Cafe competition

DIXON – Gina Venier & The Gentlemen need your help.

The Dixon singer and her band are trying to advance to the next level of the Hard Rock Cafe Battle of the Bands global competition on April 4 – which happens to be Gina’s 23 birthday.

She will sing five original songs at the Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago. She and her band – Joey Hume of Dixon on bass; Aaron Smith of Calumet City on drums; Chris Slone of Gurnee on lead guitar and backing vocals; and her dad, Mike Venier, of Dixon, on percussion and vocals – will face off against two other bands.

The band was chosen to compete through a download of her song “Gentleman.” They won the first round fin a March 21 competition. The winning band will earn the title Chicago’s Hard Rock band, and will compete against all other Hard Rock winning bands in Orlando, Fla.

The Orlando winner is signed to the Hard Rock Rising record label and tours in London.

“The prize is really extravagant,” Venier said. “It’s totally worth any work that can be put in. We already made it this far to the top three in Chicago.”

Last year, Venier won the top spot in the “Bar1 Big Break: Discovering Chicago’s Best” singing competition.

Her parents, Mike and Marguerite Venier, owners of Venier’s Jewelry Store in downtown Dixon, again are organizing a bus from Dixon to Chicago to cheer on their daughter.

Crowd participation is important to help her band win, Gina said.

“Points are based on crowd and audience interaction,” she said. “It can only help our chances to get community support and people there supporting our band. Judges take into account audience participation and how many are already following [the band].”

The band has been playing together since she won the Big Break competition.

“My goal was to put the band together and start writing original material,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase what I’ve done since then.”

If you go

If you want to cheer on Gina Venier & The Gentlemen, a bus will leave the Dixon Walmart at 6 p.m. April 4. Cost is $20 for a round-trip ticket; call 815-284-3034 to reserve a spot.

The competition begins at 9 p.m. at Hard Rock Cafe Chicago, 63 W. Ontario. There is no cover charge, although donations are being taken for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Go to and click on “Hard Rock Rising 2013” to listen to the band’s song “Gentlemen,” written by Venier. Go to to follow the Sauk Valley’s rising star.

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